Office Perks

It has been an exciting week around here. And I mean that in a sarcastic sense. Luffy’s been ridiculously busy at work, the dumpling has been working on mobility, and I… well I’ve just been trying to make sure we all the leave the house with pants on*.

On of my coworkers (the only other female professional at our firm) is leaving. There are no hard feelings, just life and opportunities and little things like seeing her husband everyday are taking her away from the DFW area. Apparently, I paved the way for her as our partners actually entertained talks of her telecommuting. It’s been going well with me, so they were willing to give it a shot for her. That’s not going to happen (for a few reasons), but I was a little proud to have laid the groundwork.

Now that I’ve been working from home part time for over six months now, I can tell you that there are a few perks to working from an office that get overlooked:

  • Regularly interacting with humans who don’t require you to change their diaper. 10/10 would recommend. The dumpling’s not at home with me during the day, but then again, neither is anyone else. I highly recommend getting out of the house on occasion to go talk to other adults.
  • Free air conditioning. I know that we all complain that our offices are meat lockers (because I could have started an icicle farm there yesterday), but in the midst of a warm and muggy summer, free air conditioning ain’t a bad deal. If I want my home office cooler, I have to pay for it. One other perk of ridiculously cold offices: mosquito bites and poison ivy rashes get numbed by the cold. Things are much itchier at home.
  • Free snacks and drinks. The snacks part is really not that great because it just further delays me from my weight loss goals. However, the drinks part! My office stocks Le Croix in four flavors, diet Coke and Dr. Pepper, and assorted sodas, coffee, and teas. My home office stocks none of this and I blame the lazy office admin around here. Getting her to do anything is like pulling teeth.
  • Killing time with coworkers. Re: number one up there. Working from home has made me realize just how much time is wasted each day by simply talking with coworkers. There’s no idle chitchat at my home office. At my other office though, stopping by to ask a question could veer off into a thirty minute conversation about driving pet peeves. True story.
  • Seriously, getting to know your coworkers. I know half of these involve them, but it’s so true. There really is not idle chitchat between myself and my coworkers when I’m not there. So all of those little tidbits you pick up (John is thinking about backpacking through Europe next year) and life story arcs (Joe is buying a house), you don’t get any of that when you don’t physically work in the same place. The female coworker I mentioned above, she started a week or so before I went on maternity leave, so I really haven’t physically worked next to her for long. I realized yesterday that I have no idea what her husband does for a living – not even remotely (like I know Will’s wife is a teacher). No clue.
  • Getting ready in the morning. Now I admit that part of this is just a given now that I have a child (and will always and forever at-least-for-the-next-18-years be actively trying to get another person ready in the morning as well). I don’t take time to get ready anymore, and part of “getting ready” is self-care. For instance, I don’t put on my moisturizer very much any more. It has SPF 30 in it and means that I go without sunblock on my face for a good portion of the week now. Tsk tsk. I don’t put on nice clothes very much anymore – it’s all shorts and t-shirts. Which is great! Comfortable! Easy! Except that most people take me a lot more seriously in my work attire. In shorts and a tee, I look like a college student (at best).
  • Diet control. I know! I know. You’re thinking, Belle, what does working in an office have to do with your diet??? Peer pressure, my friends. Peer pressure and planned meals. You see, at the office, the only food I have available to me is the food I brought (which means I thought about it and purposefully packed so totes healthy) and the aforementioned office snacks. I have set myself up at the office as being the healthy eater. If anyone wants to lose weight, I 100% recommend doing this because now I feel like EVERYONE watches what I eat. Someone is always bound to mention it if I’m not eating broccoli that day (because I always eat broccoli). If we are celebrating a birthday with cake, someone will always make a joke that they’re gonna have cake while I eat my yogurt (which then means I feel soooo guilty even thinking about taking a piece of cake). Seriously – coworker expectations plus my own guilt equals the best diet around. At my home office though, not only is there no one around to watch me eat a second or third handful of chips, I am also in close proximity to my fridge and pantry and all the delicious things in them.

In looking back over my list here, the biggest thing is my coworkers. It all boils down to being very isolated while working from home. It’s something you don’t really think about when drooling over the prospect of working from home, but there it is. I think the half and half deal I have going on right now is pretty perfect, the best of both worlds, if I may bust out the cliches on you. Just enough time at the office to interact and connect with my peers and just enough time away to actually enjoy my life.

* Ok, confession time. The dumpling doesn’t ever leave the house in pants, that poor baby. In my defense, this is the one time in his life where it’s perfectly acceptable for him to appear in public sans pants and I want him to enjoy it to the fullest.

The Game

Before I had a child, I remember wondering what the allure of all of those baby games was. You know: peekaboo, nursery rhymes, so big – all of those. I mean, sure babies laughed and smiled, I suppose that’s cute. But what’s the fun in them? How could parents repeat them over and over and over and seemingly be just as delighted as their babies?

And then I had a child. And now I know.

To be fair, I’ve always just assumed it would be different with your own child and that’s exactly right. The dumpling looooooooves for us to sing to him. His favorites are Itsy-bitsy Spider and Open, Shut Them, but he’ll also take Disney songs or any other song you happen to be singing. If he’s in a good mood, he positively lights up when you start singing. If he’s in a bad mood, he’ll give you a teary little smile and put a pause on his cries (until the moment you stop singing, of course). He also loves to play peekaboo and he’s recently leveled up his abilities: he can now pull the cloth we’re playing with off of his own head. Score one for the dumpling! His little laughs and big smiles are infectious and Luffy and I will endlessly repeat whatever currently has him giggling in pursuit of MOAR giggles.

However, he’s got a new game now that he’s positively thrilled over and Luffy and I…. well we can’t get enough of it either:

So the dumpling has figured out that when either of us are holding him, he can throw his arms out to the other parent and be passed off. I’m not really sure why he’s so enchanted with this – perhaps it’s his first realization that he can communicate what he wants and get it*. Luffy and I love the little game though because the dumpling gives the best hugs and when he’s passed, he’ll sometimes turn around to you and give this little look like omg mom YOU’RE here too, that’s just amazing! i am so excited to see you!! and then throw his little arms towards you. Sigh. It’s the sweetest.

Last night, something threw the dumpling for a loop in the bath (we’re thinking maybe the water was too warm for his liking???) and he started crying. Big tears, long sobs. He did it the night before too and we were at a loss as to what to do. Nursing didn’t help. His zippy didn’t help. Pats and hugs and bedtime stories didn’t help. Eventually, he settled down, but it took him a while. Last night though, we brought him back to his room and played our little game again. Soon, he was giggling and smiling and all was right with the world.

Luffy and I would happily play that game with him for hours, especially with the knowledge that it won’t be long before he’ll have no patience for being held – he’ll want to GO and DO and RUN and SEE! So yes, right now we’ll pass him back and forth and back and forth and be delighted each time he throws his arms out to us.

*We’re working on some simple signs right now, mainly for milk and more. He hasn’t yet signed anything yet, but he definitely knows the one for milk. All I have to do is ask him if he wants milk (with the sign), and he goes ballistic with the hammy grins and the arm flapping. Yes! Milk! I love milk! I am so excited for the milk!!

Never fear!

It was negative. Whew.

My original speculation was correct – hormonal weirdness – anovulation – Clomid to conceive hypothetical second baby. Check – check – check.

And that’s all we’ll say on the matter, moving on.


I’m taking the dumpling in to the pediatrician’s office this morning to have his iron levels rechecked. I, um, am not very optimistic that his levels are going to be any better than they were last time. He has thwarted me in all attempts at getting that stupid supplement into his mouth and down the hatch. He even hated the smoothie I made for him — with banana! One of his favorites!! I plan on asking for tips because I am tapped out.


I got bangs! Again! Woo!

To explain, I had bangs all through college basically. I think I look pretty good with bangs (I have a long, empty forehead and my hair just sort of naturally seems suited for bangs). Anyway, had them for a while and then decided to grow them out for our wedding. (I had a birdcage veil and thought that the line of the short veil plus the line of my bangs wasn’t a great combination. Plus, we all know that bangs are a wildcard and, on a day that they needed to be absolutely perfect [I did my own hair], I didn’t want to risk it.) (Parenthesis!!) So I grew them out and that, of course, took forever. So then I thought I needed to stick with the no-bangs look for a while and then I got tired of it and chopped my hair off again.

And now that I write that out, it’s not at all as interesting as it is in my head, so I’m sorry about that. But I’ll leave it because the dumpling is waking up and it’s time to head to the pediatrician’s office! Happy Friday!

And for this week’s round of oversharing

DISCLAIMER: It’s been a minute since I lasted veered off into TMI area with you guys and I’m nostalgic for it. Also I’m freaking out. Just a bit. So indulge me please.

So yesterday, I hinted at it:
…especially as my supply has seriously tanked in the past couple of days (is it my period? night weaning? am I pregnant? WHO KNOWS!

(Also relevant reading.) After my period came back, I had another fairly predictable cycle. Woohoo! Obvious ovulation signs, predictable menstruation, a touch long (37 days), but a lot better than most of my previous, un-medicated cycles. Go reproductive system! I thought I was back on track. I’d read, a very long time ago, that having a child can sort of reset your system and that having navigated infertility the first go-round didn’t always mean you would need to for any future children. I kept that hope alive. Last cycle looked pretty good. And then this cycle came.

It’s currently CD47. I haven’t had any strong signs of ovulation at any point. Who knows when my period will arrive. These weeks have felt very similar to this time, when my body kept trying to ovulate but was never successful. So. Probably going to need Clomid to conceive baby number two, no biggie. I went on Amazon and ordered an economy size pack of the cheap pregnancy tests because, as I have said many times, my biggest fear in living with anovulation and infertility is that I will be that woman who gives birth in a bathroom at the movies because I didn’t know I was pregnant. So, yup, back to my old ways of testing every couple of weeks just to make sure. I dusted my hands, mentally, and went about my business.

Then, this week started with lower back cramps. Exactly like a period. Yay! I thought, my period is coming!* Monday evening, though, came and went without the arrival of the crimson wave. Hmm. Tuesday morning dawned and brought with it even more intense backaches and very, very, very light spotting. Hmmmmmmmm. I saw neither hide nor hair of Aunt Flo that day but I was STARVING. All day. I ate. The entire day. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. And also oh shit. Wednesday dawned with just a slight backache but also brought faint, pink (ewe, sorry) spotting. Once again though, by day’s end, Shark Week had not begun.

Now, it’s today, and I still have not started my period and I still have light cramps and twinges. I am freaking out a bit. Good thing my pregnancy tests were delivered today and await me after work. It’a probably just a hormone thing, but I know peeing on a stick will ease my mind.

*The mark of one who has dealt with infertility. Only us weirdos are ever excited by our periods.

Baby needs your blood

Or, at least, your iron enriched supplement.

I got a call last Thursday afternoon from our pediatrician’s office. The finger-prick blood test they had done at his nine-month check up came back positive for anemia. They prescribed an iron supplement, to be given at double the dosage, and told me to bring him back in the following week for a re-check.

Sounds easy enough right? Just give him 1mL of supplement, twice a day, no biggie. The thing is, have you ever tasted one of those supplements? The original one I had straight up tastes like blood. Back when the dumpling was six months old, I bought a multi-vitamin supplement for him because I knew infants’ iron reserves start dropping around then. I shopped around and bought one of those all-natural, no artificial-blah-blah-blah ones – in grape! – and figured it would be a simple matter of getting the dumpling to take it. After all, it was grape flavored. HAHAHA. Yeah no. I tried for a week and then gave up on the whole business. It tasted like blood, it smelled like blood, it stained his clothes, it took two of us to wrangle him. So yeah, I put it in the medicine cabinet and never looked back.*

*Cue mom guilt of epic proportions when I realized that MAH BABY IS ANEMIC and I NEGLECTED to give him an iron supplement from the start because it was icky and hard to do and, I dunno, I had other things to do.

So the good news is that the prescribed supplement, which is actually still apparently OTC although harder to find as evidenced by the fact that our pharmacy didn’t have it in stock, is slightly better tasting. It’s clear at least and doesn’t really taste like blood (or smell like blood for that matter). It does still have a metallic twang to it, which makes hiding it in food a little bit of a challenge. Luffy thinks I’m being ridiculous, but let me outline my issues for you, if I may:

  • Issue #1: Calcium hinders the absorption of iron. Therefore, the supplement shouldn’t be given alongside dairy. They do recognize that this is more of a challenge for infants and still suggest to put it in bottles of formula (although not cow’s milk), but it means his morning yogurt is out as a vehicle for iron.
  • Issue #2: We’re in the midst of our transition from breastmilk to formula. Today, in fact, is his first day with bottles that are more formula than breastmilk – woot woot! But, I don’t want to jeopardize this transition by throwing the supplement in there, especially as my supply has seriously tanked in the past couple of days (is it my period? night weaning? am I pregnant? WHO KNOWS!). So bottles are out.
  • Issue #3: We’re supposed to give this supplement for at least 30 days. So twice a day for 30 days – I want this to be as painless as possible. Therefore, straight up squirting it into his mouth via a syringe is out as the dumpling LOATHES this method. LOATHES IT GOOD SIR. I SAID GOOD-DAY TO YOU.
  • Issue #4: I had really hoped that he would drink it mixed with a little orange juice (I know! juice is terrible for them! it’s just water and sugar! if it means the dumpling happily drinks his own supplement you can bite me). Alas, he is onto me and wants nothing to do with that either, thankyouverymuch.
  • Issue #5: I thought about putting the OJ/iron mixture into a cup because the dumpling loves cups. The only problem is that he’s still not that great with them and he’d probably only get 1/4 of it down. I’m keeping this as a last resort on the days that we have problems giving his other doses to him.
  • Issue #6: Recall that we’re giving this for 30 days, twice a day. I really hate to put it into all of his food because then everything he eats would have a metallic taste and that just makes me sad. He’s supposed to be discovering flavors right now and it bums me out that everything would have that icky aftertaste.
  • Issue #7: Re: Issue #6 – and further, even if I did mix it in with all of his food, I’d have to ensure that he eats most of that food each time. It’s required baby. Prescribed food, now open up.
  • Issue #8: (And this is where Luffy thinks I am being the most ridiculous) We have successfully hidden it in his oatmeal on several occasions, but I just can’t bring myself to do it all of the time because ….  it turns his oatmeal gray. Gray oatmeal you guys. On the one hand, it looks completely unappetizing. The dumpling doesn’t care, but I do. Small confession though – he does look hilarious when he eats the gray oatmeal. It gets on and around his lips and he looks like he’s got black lipstick on like some tiny goth baby. Emo infants around the world will likely request gray oatmeal now to fulfill their tiny emo-baby dreams.
  • Issue #9: So again with the 30 days, twice a day thing. I’d really like to find something that’s a one-and-done sort of thing, like the OJ/iron thing would have been. Something that I can just have prepared and grab, mix with the supplement and feed to the dumpling. I really don’t want to have to be doing mental math each day to think ok, so he’s having yogurt this morning, which means that I can’t mix it into that, which means that I need to add it somewhere else, but I want to give him sandwiches today, so scratch that, maybe a veggie puree in the afternoon and then we’ll just see when he gets home  and then tomorrow will be totally different. I’m sorry, but I already have a million and one things to do/remember/attend to, I would like to have one set way to administer this thing for the next month.
  • Issue #10: [There isn’t another issue, but I can’t leave this list here without rounding it out to a nice even ten. So let’s just chat about other things real quick – how’s the weather there? We’ve got rainy and a high of 85 degrees in freaking August! Someone pinch me! Also, I could have used this last year, but whatever.]
  • Issue #11: Wait! I thought of another issue! The supplement is best absorbed on an empty stomach, but could cause stomach upset. Adults are supposed to take it with food, but only if it causes upset. Obviously an infant can’t tell you if his stomach is upset by what you just gave him, so they suggest administering it immediately following a meal. BUT. Infants don’t eat unless they’re hungry. So you see the catch-22 right? He needs to eat it after a meal to avoid upset stomach but infants don’t eat unless they’re hungry which means he’s not gonna eat it after a meal. Wah wah.
  • Issue #12: Re: Issue #10 – well crap, now what I have done? Let’s just leave it here and pretend this is like #15 or something.

So, that’s a lot of issues. You see my dilemma, yes? Today, we’re trying a new method. Another mom suggested a smoothie of sorts. I blended mango, banana, carrots, orange juice, and apple juice together to make a sweet puree. We never give the dumpling fruit purees, so I’m hoping he’ll be excited by this enough to eat it each day. I’m also hoping the sweet combats the metallic and that the small size (I’m keeping each serving at an ounce) means that he finishes it all. I was able to prepare about 24 portions, which means we’d have at least 12 days covered already. Plus, they’re already prepared and in the fridge which means it’s just grab, mix, and go. Basically, all of my hopes and dreams are resting on this! Don’t fail me smoothie! You’re my last hope!

Whew.

So yeah, wish us luck! Between that and the formula (iron-fortified) and the oatmeal (iron-fortified), I really hope to pull his numbers up soon.

TEEEEEEETH

Wut the wut?!

The dumpling has teeth!! (scrunches up face, fans eyeballs, valiantly tries… not… to….)

MAAAAAAH BAAAAAABBBBBBBYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!

I really thought we’d make it to a year without teeth. I didn’t have teeth until well after my first birthday. My brother apparently got like four in one week when he was five months old and then didn’t get another until around 16 months. And we’ve seen not a single sign of teeth in the dumpling. NOT A SINGLE WARNING that teeth were making their way through his little gums.

I was dropping the dumpling off at daycare this morning (which is usually an extended affair for me because his teachers and I just chat about him). Then they just casually mentioned that they had felt his teeth yesterday and were so excited for him and it also sort of explained his clingy behavior earlier this week and – HOLD UP – WUT NOW??? TEETH??? And they were like yes! Teeth!  And I was like, OMG, this explains so much, but also TEETH?!

So let’s back up to this weekend. Our darling boy was being a touch clingy. And we all know that I’m being a bit facetious when I say *touch* because, yeah. He basically refused to be put down the entire weekend. Don’t you dare walk away from me and leave me here. And no, it doesn’t make it better if you sit on the floor while I’m over here, pick me up woman! The only way I could get him to eat any of his solids was if I held him while feeding him. (Although we did try some baby pancakes I made him which he loved and then had an allergic reaction to, so yeah, not so proud of that one in hindsight.) He also seemed more tired than usual, barely making it a couple of hours before needing a nap. But! We still managed to get lots of smiles and laughs and “da-da-da-da”s out of him.

We mentioned it to daycare Monday morning as a sort of warning. Every other time we’ve warned them about fussiness and clinginess over the weekend, they’ve just laughed at us as, OF COURSE, he’s a perfect angel for them. This time though, even they had to admit he was just not himself. I picked him up Tuesday to find him on the hip of his primary teacher. She joked with me that he’d been there all day, lol, jk, but for realz please take this baby so that I can have my arm back. He, of course, was all smiles after being catered to.

Then yesterday, he kept biting me while nursing. He’s bitten me before, with just his little gums, hard enough to draw blood actually. Those times, it was more about the pressure or tugging. This time though, there was a sharp pain that accompanied each nip. I brushed it off though and tried to get through nursing without yelping. It didn’t help that he kept side-eyeing me while biting me, so I really thought he was just testing a boundary. What will mom do if I do this? CHOMP.

So yeah – teeth – it totally makes sense now. His teachers laughed that I hadn’t even checked for teeth, that they discovered them first, but, to be fair, teeth never even crossed my mind. I mean, aren’t they supposed to turn into little hellions? If my birth board is to be believed, the biggest sign of teething would be the extended night wakings with non-stop screaming, drooling, crankiness, and possibly some devil’s horns to top it all off – much like a bow atop a present. I just chalked the dumpling’s clinginess up to some sort of growth spurt or leap.

It’s true though, I felt them myself before I left the room. Two tiny teeth, poking through. I’m sad, in a way (ok, in lots of ways). Babies look so weird with teeth. Right? I can’t be the only person who thinks so. You’ve got this little cherubic baby, all cute and drooly, who opens his mouth and – BAM – teeth. Like a real person! I’m going to miss his little gummy smile so much… He’s going to look so different with teeth… He’s just getting so big… (scrunches up face, fans eyeballs, valiantly tries… not… to….)

MAAAAAAH BAAAAAABBBBBBBYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!

Nine Months!

The dumpling! He is nine months old today. Holy cats!

It’s so odd to think that he’s been here, with us, for just as long as he was in me. Every day that passes tips the scales further and further towards making my time with him inconsequential.

We had his nine month check-up this morning. He’s doing great! Still a peanut – poor baby. Fourth percentile for weight and the twentieth for height. He’s got long legs and arms and a short torso (he gets the short torso from me). I laugh because he still wears 6mo onesies without issue. I bought him 9mo onesies the other day and they swallow him. Yet, his 12mo pants are a touch short, almost passing for shorts rather than pants.

His gross motor skills need some monitoring. He’s a big fan of sitting, that one. Put a toy he wants in front of him (which is probably the most recommended piece of advice for encouraging crawling) and he’ll streeeeeeeetch out to get it. Sometimes, he’s successful and will pull himself back upright to sitting, toy in hand. Other times, he does a controlled face plant, gets his legs out from under him, then wails at the horror of being on his tummy. TUMMY TIME… WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS??? Reminding him that he got himself into this situation does nothing to curb the wails. Good times.

He’s already come so far though, since those early newborn days. When he’s in a good mood, he’ll sit and play by himself, banging cups on the floor and depositing rings into a cleaned out tissue box (probably the best toy I’ve ever given him, because of course it is). Luffy and I always chuckle because many mornings, while we’re letting him chill in his crib for a bit (he needs a few minutes to really wake up), we’ll hear him all the way across the house – just talking to himself, greeting the day.

Bedtime is his absolute favorite time. He could be a fussy monster for the better portion of the day, but as soon as he realizes it’s bathtime, out come the smiles! He thinks it’s hilarious to be naked, probably because I always pinch his butt. He loves to play in the tub and will dump toys over the side until I make him get out. He adores being read to. Luffy reads to us (Harry Potter right now, we’re on the third one) while he nurses one last time. Sometimes, if he’s not ready for bed yet, I’ll sit him up to listen to dada read to us and – whoo – he loves that too. So many smiles – big smiles. Then into his crib he goes and, if he’s not quite ready for sleep yet, he chats to himself for a while. So adorable.

Sometimes I look back and miss being pregnant. It was so much easier, in a way. Harder physically, true. Plus you have the worry of the unknown (baby’s health, my health, delivery, what are the newborn days going to bring you, etc), but overall easier for me. No holding an infant all the time when he refuses to be put down. No making bottles or pumping or prepping daycare bags. No car seats or endless laundry or diaper changes. Plus, my needs still reigned supreme.

But then, I look down at my smiling boy and I’m ever so happy that he’s here. Happy nine months, my dumpling.